Government fights to contain product price increases

The Commerce Ministry warned manufacturers not to raise their product prices in the wake of nationwide implementation of the 300-baht daily minimum wage.

"Based on ministry studies, the wage hike affects manufacturers' production costs only marginally," said Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa, director-general of the Internal Trade Department.

The department said complaints were levelled in several areas that prices had increased, particularly for pork at fresh markets in northeastern provinces, which had been raised by at least 10 baht per kilogramme shortly after the minimum wage hike.

Mrs Wiboonlasana said the department's officials have been told to closely monitor the pork issue, adding any traders found charging prices above recommended prices would be subject to a maximum seven-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to 140,000 baht.

Traders in fresh markets are also required to display price labels clearly.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said the wage hike is estimated to affect overall production costs by 3-5%.

This is expected to lead certain manufacturers to use it as an excuse to raise their product prices. The ministry's study found the wage hike would affect small and medium-sized enterprises' costs by 2.24% to 6.74%.

The cost to produce rice and cereals would rise by 6.73% to 7.86%, produce would increase 0.94% to 1.38%, and vegetables would gain 1.93% to 2.51%.

Cargo transport costs are set to rise by 6.73%, with mass transport up 4.5%.

Car repairs and medical treatment costs would rise by 3.37%.

About the author

Writer: Phusadee Arunmas
Position: Business Reporter